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ISFDB.org Magazine Entry



Dynamic Science Fiction, December 1952

BLOOD LANDS

By Alfred Coppel

"You will never take us away from our land, men from the stars... and no one; who has touched this, our sacred land; shall ever leave it!"

drums beating in the feather forests and a wailing in the wind as the red sun sets protect us o father for the past men have returned and we are afraid a deep sullen surging of the, soil and a wordless reply of alien anger mixed with pain our father rages whisper the chants leave us alone you men of space what have we to do with you now?


THE RENDEZVOUS was well away from the channel, stinking area that had been burned by the starship's landing. Kenyon stood on the edge of a plume-grove that grew down to where the tideless sea lay red and shimmering.

He looked back, cursing the flatness of the island. The spire of the starship commanded a complete view of the territory; there was no place to hide. Kenyon knew that anyone who wished to do so could spy on him easily as he stood waiting for Elyra to come out of the grove.

Not, he told himself defensively, that there was any good reason that he should hide his doings with Elyra. Affairs with native women—while not considered in the best taste—were common enough among starmen. It was simply that the mission here was one of repatriation rather than exploitation, and all members of the expedition had been warned against forming liasons that could conceivably become embarassing situations when the natives were moved off Kana.

Kenyon shifted his weight nervously from one foot to another, peering through the picket of quills into the grove. He would have liked to go into the grove to meet the girl, but it was something he had never been able to bring himself to do. One didn't take chances on a planet like Kana—one that had retrogressed from technology into legend-worshipping semi-savagery. And there was that unanswered question about cannibalism...

Not Elyra, Kenyon thought quickly; that wouldn't be possible. After all, the mission had been on Kana only a few days. It was only a matter of time until the riddle of the native food-supply was solved.

A soft rustling of the plumes warned him of her approach. Native or not, he reflected, she was a handsome thing. Odd about the red hair— they all had it, men and women alike. And the grey, almost cold, eyes. But there was nothing cold about her body; it was lithe and supple, burned golden by the light of the red sun. Her costume showed most of it, and Kenyon could fully appreciate the rippling play of muscles under the satiny skin as she walked.

She paused at the very edge of the grove, solemn and unsmiling in the slanting light.

"The sunset comes, Kenyon," she said.

Her greeting was always the same. A dwelling on the ending of a day, the fading of light from the sky. Kenyon unconsciously looked toward the east, where the first pale light of a star was b...

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